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I've been reading your nasty comments about the way we run our church, you keep saying our preacher shouldn't get up front and pray in front of everybody, but I bet you're always getting drunk and taking drugs and running around fornicating, and God will fry you in hell for not being respectful!

I read in the Bible like you said where Jesus says not to pray in front of other people, but in your closet, but my closet's full, and we've always done it that way, and then I read in the Bible like you said where Jesus says that the scribes and Pharisees set aside the word of God and substituted the tradition of man, but it just wouldn't be church if we couldn't be holy and good in front of each other!

If God's way isn't good enough for you, you can just stay home and be a sinner and do without his blessing. Just who do you think you are? We're good people in our church, who the hell else would come?

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The following comments are for "your nasty comments"
by johnlibertus

I wonder why you put this in flash fiction? Didn't this belong as a feedback at the bottom of someone else's piece, probably an anti-religious rant?

( Posted by: the alienist [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

not really

This is a dramatic monologue, and, hence, a piece of characterization. Apparently I made it too realistic for you.

( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

Understand completely...
Maybe you feel as I, even though you have called me crazy in the past...LOL

I feel like church should be so different than what it is, I see sinners, me included sitting under a tree, prosititutes, wino's, etc... all of us, reading, learning, taking in God's love, receiving his sweet, blessed words. No fingers pointed, no judgements, just acceptance. Leaving it to God to call judgement. Not us, it is not our place. Jesus loved all. The more I read, the more I see how little we all know. Seems we all want to be so much holier than Him. Reminds me of the Pharisees. Don't see that in Jesus. His writings show me someone who wanted the sick, the mame, the heartbroken, the sinnners. So much I would like to say on this subject. But this is your baby. Just wanted to say I agree. Great job, John.


( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

hey, jesus?
uh... my closet's full.

hilarious, john. "who the hell else would come?" yeah. good stuff. and weird. what else would i expect?

the funniest part, actually, is the paid google ads along the right hand panel, here. anyone else seeing those? bwah!


( Posted by: ark [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

Nasty Comments..Ivor

I know I am away from my normal stomping grounds here but I followed comments to this.

Love it, I think your sense of humour is amazing and as dry as the desert sand. I often get myself into trouble with a similiar sense of humour, until people get to know the real me, but I love it.

The quandry... does he really mean it, better not take a chance...

Keep up the good work,

Have fun,


( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

I meant to say you called me scary not crazy, I am traumatized, what can I say!!!

( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )


I was going to say something about that, but I got scared off -

( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

Fiction as guidelines..
I think this is a bit over the top. I can't see that you respect other people's way of thinking. This should be a forum for writers who accept they talk of fiction.

( Posted by: DrKilldare [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )


I'm sorry, but your critique is incoherent; I get the feeling you didn't read it very carefully, either.

( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

Missed the satire
I guess, I see that you're not saying this for real. As a satirical work, I think it is a bit unclear, though.

( Posted by: DrKilldare [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

Nice read however
I like the concept but I think it's in the wrong catagory. I also feel the part in the last line "who the hell else would come" reflects a hypocrite in the tone set. Despite all else, it was an interesting piece!

( Posted by: DBurke [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

that's the whole point

That's the whole point, the narrator is a hypocrite. Jesus says, in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6:6) "when you pray, don't be as the hypocrites: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. But you, when you pray, go to your closet privately..."

And my narrator says, in answer: "but it just wouldn't be church if we couldn't be holy and good in front of each other!" demonstrating that what he/she wants out of prayer is not closeness to God, but that other people think highly of their virtue: they want to impress others.

This kind of hypocrisy is precisely why no one else comes. Who else would put up with that kind of crap?

I think the reason some of you aren't getting this is because you're getting too pissed off at the narrator before you can see that it's not the writer's real view. Think I ought to enclose the whole thing in quotation marks; might help.

( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

Yes that might help the reader understand the concept a little better. Keep up the good work. Your writtings are interesting and not at all typical. The rare and unique quality of your work is what I the reader wants to see. This is my aim as a new writter. Even though I am considered ameture, you will find in the warming of my journey; I am only that by words.
Good luck I'll be looking for keep them comming. I might learn from you.

( Posted by: DBurke [Member] On: June 22, 2004 )

On Critiquing
Reading all these I'm left to wonder about libertus' ability to accept constructive criticism. John, why must you attack those who
take the time to comment on your work? Why attack DrKilldare with a condescending reply like this:
"I'm sorry, but your critique is incoherent." And what about your sarcastic reply to the alienist? I won't even get into the load of nasty b.s. you e-mailed me.

( Posted by: Odysseus [Member] On: June 23, 2004 )

re: comments
These comments are getting out of line. Again, I understand that certain subjects cause intense reactions, but this is degrading into fighting and personal attacks. Remember the point is to comment on the writing, not the writer. Same goes to commenting on comments. It's fine to debate things, just try not to let it get out of hand.

( Posted by: Chrispian [Admin] On: June 23, 2004 )

next time, quotations

I'm beginning to see that titling this piece 'your nasty comments' 20 years ago, when I wrote it, is causing a particular confusion when people see it in the listings under 'FLASH FICTION;' they're tending to think it's a response to comments on the author's work on this site, so they presume, going in, that it's a personal rant. Not at all, it's my complaint, as a Christian, about how most churches are run.

It's also a somewhat subtle satire, recognizable only by it's internal contradictions; if the reader gets too pissed off by the 'mad dog' tone in which it proceeds, he may dismiss it out of hand. Perils of the approach; I should have put it in quotes. Ivor got it on the head: 'does he really mean it'?

I meant no insult or dismissal of DrKildare's critique: I didn't understand it, that's why I responded 'Huh?' The last line of his critique, 'This should be a forum for writers who accept they talk of fiction[sic]' is incoherent, though I think I know what he's getting at. When I said 'I get the feeling you didn't read it very carefully,' it was in response to his statement 'I can't see that you respect other people's way of thinking'; he was obviously mistaking my character's opinions for those of the author.

The same for my response to the_alienist, I wasn't being sarcastic; I actually felt (and still feel) that I had so realistically portrayed a hypocrite that he mistook it(and hence, me) for the real thing. It didn't make me mad, it's funny. Reminds me of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal", in which he, an Irishman, suggests, as a remedy to Irish poverty and overpopulation, that Irish babies be sold in the English meat markets, like suckling pigs; his English readers (on whom he blamed most of the Irish troubles) denounced him for a monster, thinking he reallly meant it.

And Mark Levin (Odysseus) and I really stepped in it, in our email exchanges. I emailed him a note with 'your nasty comments' in the 'subject' line, thinking he'd recognize the title of my piece; he thought I was attacking his rating of my piece, characterizing it as 'nasty.' He even specified that he'd rated, not 'commented' on my piece, then suggested I must be some kind of idiot to take his rating so personally. We went a little downhill from there before our mutually civilized, sophisticated selves took over, and managed to straighten it out.

I could have avoided most of these misunderstandings with the judicious use of quotations, and Christ knows I'm going to use them when I publish this. 'Course when it appears in quotations, I'll probably get crucified by a mad pack of churchgoers. Nobody can say that I'm not asking for it.

Thanks, all, for the comments; it's been hilarious -


( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: June 23, 2004 )

A bit clearer
This whole debate has become now. I think we all know where you stand on different issues.

Let me just say one thing:
"This should be a forum for writers who accept they talk of fiction[sic]' is incoherent, though I think I know what" means that I wouldn't take seriously any religious ideas as truth(s), and that some religious writers don't know that they talk of fiction...
not trying to be detail-fixed..

( Posted by: DrKilldare [Member] On: June 23, 2004 )

Not trying to stir this all up again, but I was cruising the site, and the title caught my eye. Just wanted to say I got it and I loved it! I agree most churches are like that. I talk to God when ever I feel like it wherever I am. It doesn't have to be in church where eveyone can see my holy self. Fiction is just that. fiction'

I loved your remark on Jonathen Swift. I am also Irish with a some what warped sense of humor. Maybe that's why I got it. TB51

( Posted by: TB51 [Member] On: October 22, 2004 )

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